With Steven Avery and Brendan Dassey still behind bars for the 2005 murder of Teresa Halbach, Making A Murderer Season 2 producers turned to Avery’s lawyer, Kathleen Zellner, for much of the content that comprised the second season of the hit Netflix docu-series. That footage presented the wrongful convictions specialist Zellner as a legal pit bull, unwilling to stop working until her client was freed from jail. But according to the Cook County Record, a new $20 million lawsuit filed against her claims she dropped the ball on a Chicago man’s civil rights case.
Lathierial Boyd’s malpractice complaint, filed on December 27, 2018, claims Kathleen Zellner “botched his federal civil rights case and then abandoned prosecution.” Boyd was originally convicted of murder in a 1990 nightclub shooting, but that conviction was vacated in 2013 after new witnesses corroborated his claim of having nothing to do with the incident. Boyd claims Chicago police fabricated evidence and maliciously prosecuted the case against him, going so far as to invent testimony from a shooting victim who was intubated and unable to communicate with detectives at the time.
Boyd’s suit claims Zellner failed to develop all available evidence, and that she didn’t prepare written briefs sufficient to overcome pleadings from the city and police officers he accused of framing him. When a U.S. Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals hearing date conflicted with a family vacation, Zellner allegedly dismissed Boyd’s federal appeal and attempted to refile it in state court, where the case was past the statute of limitations.
In a statement issued to the Cook County Record, Kathleen Zellner denied the accusations against her and claimed she “hired a well-known appellate attorney to do the oral argument (before the Seventh Circuit) and he advised that the case was meritless and should be dismissed.”
Zellner went so far as to declare her intent to counter-sue Boyd.
“We and another law firm are filing a lawsuit against Mr. Boyd on Monday (Jan. 7) for fraudulent misrepresentation, breach of contract and quantum meruit,” she wrote. “Mr. Boyd has a history of filing meritless claims against his former attorneys.”
For those who need a legal refresher, quantum meruit is asking a judge or jury to rule on how much is owed in fees for a professional service rendered.
On the Making A Murderer front, Zellner’s most recent motion to allow rapid DNA testing of mystery bones found during the original investigation into Teresa Halbach’s murder was denied. As reported by Inquisitr, Zellner is still pushing to arrange an agreement with incoming Wisconsin Attorney General Josh Kaul to approve the testing. When denying her motion, the courts gave Steven Avery until February 1 to file an appeal brief.